At Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap, Clay Markwell is doing what he loves

Danielle Lirette
Clay Markwell at Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap.
Clay Markwell majored in fine arts and photo journalism in college; he wanted to be a photographer. He wound up in advertising, though, where he found himself "very unhappy." Markwell knew he needed a change, but instead of doing what most of us do -- which is pursuing a similar path at a different place -- he started looking for something else. And when he realized he was "playing hooky to go home and make homemade sausage and brew beer for Octoberfest parties," he says, he knew just what it would entail: food.

See also: A $10 burrito? Somewhere in Denver, a hard-working Mexican is laughing, says a reader

So Markwell left Chicago and moved to Denver, where he was willing to start over in the kitchen -- beginning as a prep cook at TAG and working his way to sous chef.

And then he worked his way out of TAG, opening his own place, Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap, at 4262 Lowell Boulevard (that's the former home of Shazz) this summer.

"If we're going to be working the rest of our life," explains Markwell, "I want to be lucky to do what I love."

See if you're going to love what he's doing at Scratch when my review is posted on tomorrow.

Location Info

Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap

4262 Lowell Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Gimmicky food and the two times I've been, I guess I haven't seemed hip enough to get service that seemed like anything but an interruption. I'm not a difficult customer, perhaps that was part of the problem: I didn't demand attention. For the lamb and the steak, it's expensive considering the small portions. My companion had to send back her Ahi Tuna salad, I could smell the fish from across the table.

Neither of us drink, so the food needs to stand on its own without the Happy Tap. You can find us at Paxia.


I like Scratch, I eat there often. I love the empanadas and always get the Ahi Salad. I think their flavor combos are great. They do a good a job


I like Scratch.. I eat there often. Love the empanadas and the Ahi Tuna Salad. I like the flavor combos of the burritos. I think they do a good job


This place is so unfortunately disappointing. The combos just aren't very good.

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